Josh Adams returns to Test rugby on Saturday admitting that competition for places in Wales’ back-three is “as strong as it has ever been”.
Cardiff wing Adams, who was top try-scorer at the Japan-hosted 2019 World Cup, has been sidelined due to a broken bone in his hand.
With Adams out, Dragons prospect Rio Dyer took his chance impressively in opening Autumn Nations Series games against New Zealand and Argentina.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 17, 2022
Leigh Halfpenny returns from injury among the replacements when Wales tackle Georgia this weekend, with Louis Rees-Zammit filling the full-back berth and Alex Cuthbert selected as Adams’ wing partner.
Current outside centre George North, meanwhile, has played the vast majority of his international career as a wing, with Dyer rested against Georgia and Liam Williams currently recovering from a collarbone injury.
“Competition for places in the back-three is as strong as it has ever been, and it does drive your standards,” Adams said.
“With players coming in and going well, you know when you get your opportunity that you have got to take it.
“Rio came in and played exceptionally well, Cuthy (Alex Cuthbert) has come back in and been terrific, George (North) can slide on to the wing.
“Louis is having a run at full-back with Leigh and Liam to come back. The list goes on, so you have got to take every chance you get.
“The wing and full-back positions now are inter-changeable. There are a lot of similarities in the two positions – back-field coverage, aerially, defensively.
“It can help playing wing and 15 at Test level and will count in your favour, but as a back-three unit there are a lot of similarities.
“It has been like that for a while, but previously you might have more of an out and out winger, somebody who would be a bit more up and down with pace and power.
“Now, being good aerially, kicking, positional play are important and transferrable to being a full-back.”
Adams wins his 43rd cap on Saturday, and one try against Georgia would move him above Sir Gareth Edwards, Gerald Davies and Tom Shanklin on Wales’ all-time list, with the quartet currently tied on 20 touchdowns.
Adams’ impressive strike-rate underlines the impact he has made since arriving on the Test match stage less than five years ago.
In anticipation of #WALvGEO, a girls' choir in the Georgian city of Gori put on a performance of that classic Welsh hymn, 'Calon Lân' ❤️🏴🇬🇪@GeorgianRugby | @WelshRugbyUnion pic.twitter.com/yLtcKJPvFH
— Autumn Nations Series (@autumnnations) November 18, 2022
And he is now fully fit for a game that sees Wales facing opponents they will meet again at next year’s World Cup in France.
“It was a bit frustrating because you just don’t know with fractures. There is no intense rehab you can do to speed up the process,” he added.
“It was just about making sure it was 100 per cent right.
“I didn’t want to go out there only being able to give 75 or 80 per cent. I wanted to deliver what was asked of me.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 15, 2022
“It has taken maybe a week or two longer than what I would have hoped, but we are here and that is the main thing.
“I’ve tried to be as present as I can in every training session and give my opinion in meetings.
“Coming into camp with an injury is frustrating and you have to integrate in training later on, but I am excited and champing at the bit to get back out there.”